What to CookSouth American

An Ancient Take on Ceviche, Featuring Prawns

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Bright, light ceviche might seem like a quintessential summer dish, but the marinated seafood salad shines any time of year. There are so many different combinations of acids, fish, and crunchy fruits and vegetables that it seems silly to limit it to just one season. Prime example: a king prawn concoction from Chef Martin Morales’s latest book, Andina: The Heart of Peruvian Food.

Photo by Julia Gartland

Made of fresh, raw prawns (in many parts of the world, "shrimp" and "prawn" are interchangeable, although technically, shrimp have two claws and prawns have three; just use the best quality shrimp you can find) marinated in a garlicky dressing, Morales calls the dish ‘pre-Incan tartare’ because of its ancient roots.

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“Forget steak tartare: This dish has far more funk and punk, is deeper and more daring, and—to top it off—harbors thousands of years of history.”

Some speculate that ceviche originated along the coast of what is now Peru nearly 2,000 years ago. While today’s ceviche typically comprises fresh, raw fish cured in citrus juices, the original likely cured seafood with fermented beverages. Similarly, Morales’s ceviche doesn’t contain citrus.

Making the recipe takes less than 30 minutes—simply combine chopped prawns, red onion, tomato, herbs, chile, and salt in a bowl, then set aside while you make the dressing. Let the mixture and dressing mix and mingle for 10 minutes, and you have your dish.

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Peruvian Shrimp Ceviche (Sivinche)

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Serves 4

For the ceviche

  • 8 very large raw prawns—peeled, heads removed, deveined, and very finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 1 medium-heat red chile, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado—halved, pitted, peeled, and sliced, for serving (optional)
  • toast or boiled new potatoes, for serving (optional)

For the dressing

  • 4 confit garlic cloves (see note)
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons chicha or dry cider
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
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What's your favorite ceviche combination? Shellfish? Squid? Shark? Share in the comments!

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Tags: South American, Seafood, Appetizer, Shrimp